PhD position in Solid Earth Geophysics (4 years) (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

PhD position in Solid Earth Geophysics (4 years) (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
17 Apr 1 Sep Utrecht

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Would you like to study mantle plumes with help of machine learning? Than apply for this PhD position.

Job description

The Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University is seeking a motivated candidate for an exciting and interdisciplinary project aimed at identifying mantle plumes in seismic images. Mantle convection is the driving force behind plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. At the Earth's surface we see indications that localised hot 'plumes' may be rising from the core to the crust, and perhaps constitute a key component of this convection. Seismology is our most powerful tool for mapping the 3-D structure of the Earth's deep interior and yet, has been unable to provide uncontested images of mantle plumes. 

This project will address the fundamental question: "Do plumes exist, and if so, where?". You will develop state-of-the-art machine learning tools to bring together data and modelling from seismology, geodynamics and mineral physics. While you will be based at Utrecht University, you will also collaborate with an international team of experts, and will present your work at national and international meetings. 

A personalised training programme will be set up, reflecting your training needs and career objectives. About 20% of your time will be dedicated to this training component, which includes training on the job in assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the Earth Sciences department at Utrecht University.


Utrecht University


You should have strong numerical and analytical skills and hold a Masters degree in Earth Science, Geophysics, Mathematics, or Physics. Previous experience in computer programming and numerical modelling is highly desirable. A background in either seismic waveform modelling or high-pressure mineralogy would also be advantageous. Full fluency in written and spoken English is essential.

Conditions of employment

You will be offered a temporary position (0.8 - 1.0 FTE), initially for one year with an extension to a total of four years upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary starts with € 2,541 per month in the first year and increases to € 3,247 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) for a full-time employment. Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end bonus of 8.3% per year. 

In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching.  At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international tenured staff of about 50 scientists and more than 110 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. We house or have access to a wide variety of world-class laboratories. The department has its own in-house supercomputer as well as access to national supercomputing resources.

The department is located at Utrecht Science Park near the historical city centre of Utrecht. Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of nearly 360,000 and forms a hub in the middle of the country. Its historical city centre and its modern central station can easily be reached from the Utrecht Science Park by public transport or by a 15-minute bicycle ride. Utrecht boasts beautiful canals with extraordinary wharf cellars housing cafés and terraces by the water, as well as a broad variety of shops and boutiques.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 28—40 hours per week
  • €2541—€3247 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1208800



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht

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